Planned Obsolescence and Your Right to Repair

Have you ever wondered why some consumer goods don’t last? From cell phones to household appliances and clothing to automobile tires, some products we use
every day could last much longer. But they don’t.

Have you ever wondered why major purchases — such as vehicles or large
appliances — always seem to break down immediately after a manufacturer’s
warranty expires?

Or perhaps you’ve asked how an advanced society can manufacture materials
durable enough to venture into space, but cannot produce a car tire that will
last more than a few years? The answer lies in planned obsolescence. It’s a
marketing and manufacturing trick meant to keep you buying

In this post, we’ll take a close look at planned obsolescence. We’ll uncover
some manufacturers using these questionable practices, and we’ll explain the
Right to Repair movement
— a modern campaign
promoting US consumers’ right to maintain their purchases for

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Obsolescence by design, defect, or corporate decree

Ever since I started intentionally writing about “obsolescence by design” way back in 2011, it’s been a regularly-revisited theme in my writeups. The reason why has a lot to do with my predominant editorial beat, consumer electronics. After all, as I’ve seemingly mentioned innumerable times since launching this blog in 2005, consumer-electronics manufacturers as a rule make scant (if any) profit on each unit sold, especially after subtracting the “percentage” taken by retailer intermediaries. Revenue tangibly accrues only as a function of unit volume, not from per-unit profit margin.

Initial-sale revenue is sometimes supplemented by after-sale firmware-unlocked feature set updates, services, and other add-ons. But more often than not, a manufacturer’s path to ongoing fiscal stability involves straightforwardly selling you a brand new replacement/upgrade unit down the road; cue obsolescence by design for the unit currently in your possession. However catchy that phrase may be, however, I realized in sitting

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